I’d been doing it for years, but it took me a while to realize it. One day I finally woke up to the fact that I had spent years of my life fating, or fake dating. I can see how the pattern developed. Growing up with brothers, I always had a natural connection with guys. They just seemed to be more relaxed about life. They accepted the world as it was, without any analyzation, suspicion, or complication. Naturally, I was flattered when men were drawn to me and wanted my attention. It wasn’t until later that it started a painful cycle.
What started out as flattery turned into empty words. Hanging out casually led to a subconscious desire for commitment. I was convinced that girls and guys could just be friends, that all the dinners for two, dancing, and spending time together didn’t have to mean anything. Deep down I started to realize I wanted something more.
After my thousandth time having a handsome guy friend take me out, kiss me, woo me, but then fail to commit to me, I finally started to believe in this thing called fating. My final breaking point came when a close male friend of mine started to show interest in me. He was at my beck and call. If I needed a cup of coffee, a dinner, or even a massage, he was my man. The only problem was…it was utterly boring. There was no chase, no mystery, no challenge!
One fateful night, as my fake- boyfriend rubbed my back, I felt the Lord speak to me and say, “This is you! This is what you do!” Shocked out of my sultry massage, I began to think about the patterns in my life. Surely all those guys in the past had liked me, and not just wanted to use me. I hadn’t gone too far over the line physically, so I had to be good, right? I sat in denial for a few moments, but then slowly began to realize the truth. I had been giving myself not just physically, but emotionally to men for years. It took a desperate man to hold up the mirror to a formerly desperate woman, but that is where my freedom began…
Jesus started to show me I had fated my whole life, because I really didn’t know my value. I didn’t think I was worth pursuing, so I just took what I could get. I was like a starving girl, desperate for love, who'd settled for fast food hamburgers, instead of leaving room for a steak. The fake boyfriends in my life were taking the place of the man who would actually ask me out on a real date, not just use me until he found something better...
As I started this journey towards freedom, the Lord showed me that not only did I not value myself, but there was a much bigger issue. The issue was my hopelessness. At the core of my being, I did not trust the Lord. I did not believe He would do what He said He would do, and bring me a husband. If I was being totally honest, I was hopeless in the area of romantic relationships.
I had been rejected by my fake boyfriends so many times, I didn’t have any faith for a real one.
Since I didn’t trust God, I would try to make a relationship happen myself. That’s why I had dozens of men who had “fated” me, and left me broken. Let me take a step back and say men can be fake dated as well. The old saying “it takes two to tango” still rings true here. I had allowed men to fake date me. They were not the only ones to blame. As the Lord continued to uncover these root issues, it felt like the arrows that had pierced my heart were being taken out. It was painful, but the pain felt good.
As Jesus restored my heart, I started to notice other women who had fake dated. I looked around the church and saw an epidemic of beautiful, strong, spiritual women who wanted to get married, but who were still single. I realized part of the reason was because Christian guys and girls had been fake dating each other. They were getting all their emotional and physical needs met and didn’t see any reason to commit. Then the questions started to rise. What if we put an end to this fake dating? What if godly men and women learned their value in Christ, started really trusting the Lord with their love lives, and stopped getting each other's needs met without any type of commitment?
If I could send a message to the beautiful, strong women who have found themselves in this same cycle, here’s what I would say: When you find your value in Jesus, when you trust Him with your love life, and when you realize you deserve to be pursued and not just used, something strange happens. You start attracting godly men, who recognize a woman who values not only God, but who values herself. You honor the Lord and you honor the beauty of relationships and intimacy. You start getting a real fancy dinner date, instead of a cheap make-out session. So let’s stop the fake dating (because we deserve better) and let’s go after what’s real.
-Anna, 27, Tennessee, US